Welcome to Dissecting House: a blog dedicated to the television show House MD, where analytical reviews of season 8 episodes are posted weekly.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

A Reflection on The Final Problem: 'Everybody Dies'

'Everybody Dies' breaks the prescription mould of the procedural episode at PPTH. The episode begins with House in the dark, lying on a cold, dirty floor. From the dusty, dark quality of the opening scene there is a sense that the episode will take place, for the most part, in the shadows. House wakes up to find Kutner standing over him, a suicidal reference to his state of mind. In a TVLine Interview Shore describes how the hallucinations interact with reality, most amusingly when Kutner sticks a piece of gum on the sole of the dead patient's shoe. The patient, a heroin addict, works as a parallel for House himself. He pushes everyone in his life away and is openly an addict. However, he offers to take the fall for House's flooding prank when House tells him he's dying. He was prepared to sacrifice himself, as House does for Wilson. In true Housian fashion, the medicine appears to be more important than the patient, and House is compelled to tell him that he will live, only to continue uncovering the mystery, or so he says. So onto plan B.

As a reflection of the Holmsian detective style, there is no straightforward search for the truth. The episode is fragmented and does not happen in chronological order. In great part, the episode takes place in House's mind. Wilson dying of cancer forces House to reassess his own life, and when forced to go back to jail, he must either accept his fate or fight against it. As we all know 'dying changes everything', so in a true homage to Conan Doyle's 'Reichenbach Falls' and in a similar way to Moffat's modern day Sherlock, House decides to create a scenario in which his 'death' allows for a new life and time spent with Wilson. House sacrifices his chances of ever practicing medicine again, of living his past life, for Wilson. In the end, what makes life worth living for many of us, are the human connections we have (we need the eggs). 

I watched the episode in a more or less paralysed mental state. I was terrified of what the end would mean, not only for House, but for myself and so many others. Now comes the time when I admit that I initially interpreted the episode in a completely different way from the way it was intended. For me, House was hallucinating and seeing all those who had meant something to him in his past, and who represented a part of his subconscious, after tripping for the last time on heroin (a tribute to Holmes, no doubt). I believed that ironically, the moment he decided to live, to go on, despite knowing he would lose his friend, was the moment it was too late. I thought the plan to run away, continuing with the Thelma and Louise analogy from 'The C Word', was a plan that could never happen, created by House in hope. I wasn't under the impression House died when the building collapsed, (especially as a friend suggested a Holmsian ending), I believed it at the end, almost like a triple bluff or inception. I believed that what were supposed to be misleading clues, ie Dr. Nolan at Mayfield, were in the end real ones. What also led me to believe this was the song used at the end, what I like to call 'Amber's Song', 'Enjoy Yourself' (It's later than you think): the song she sang repeatedly to House while he was hallucinating in season 5. It has a melancholic tone which really tugs at the heart strings. The 'Dead Poets Society' reference, although more aptly applicable to Wilson, also made me question House's end.  But House survived the fire, and the torments of his mind and what's to come. This way the end is more open, fans can write endings for themselves, for the fates of House and Wilson. After all, Kutner does say: 'Death's not interesting. You exist for what's interesting.'

What I really enjoyed was the embedding of stories and the metaphors throughout the episode. House crashing through the weak floorboards becomes a metaphor for two stories: when House crashes through one floor to the other it suggests that it was a facade, a fake floor. The real floor lies beneath, representing the escape plan. The constant images of fire appear to signify an all encompassing destruction or end, the hell House is currently living in. The truth, that House is alive, becomes buried under piles of wood and burnt debris. When the building collapses two crosses can be seen in the framework of the wood, side by side, seemingly to mark House and Wilson. In addition, the repetition of House: 'He's happy', Amber: 'He's dead' points to House's plan to 'kill himself'. Only after the fake death can he be free and potentially happy with Wilson. House's understanding that their fates lie in his hands appears to come just after the moment in which Wilson tells him there is only one person he can count on. The axiom 'Everybody Lies' is present throughout, indicating the fake story.

I have to say, I did miss seeing Cuddy, she was such an important person to House. So it was fitting that she was at least referenced as one someone who really impacted House's life. Stacy's scenario was surreal. Seeing House hold his would-be child demonstrated just how much that life was not for him. House's mind can't help but think of a parallel life he could have lived, a life in which Wilson would not be dying. In 'The C Word' Wilson breaks down in a sort of existential crisis about how the universe is unfair and the pointlessness of life. In 'Holding On' House goes as far as to present fake patients Wilson saved, at the cafeteria, to show Wilson just how much his life has meant. House constantly asks Wilson (and others) to sacrifice for him throughout the series, Vicodin prescriptions, lying, alibis, covers... But in the final episode House makes the ultimate sacrifice for Wilson. As Foreman says in 'Holding On': 'Enduring pain to do some good for someone you care about...isn't that what life is?'

I loved seeing Amber again, she was one of my favourite characters, especially as I am absolutely fascinated by House's mind and how it works. In 'Blowing the Whistle' I was convinced House's MRI prank was a way to check whether he was ok, as he showed real fear that his mental capacity and ability to practice medicine was declining. In clever Housian style, while House was worried for himself, and our focus was on him, Wilson was silently suffering with cancer, and the news came like a knife to the heart. So in 'Everybody Dies' we see a focus again on House's mind, on his ability to fabricate a fake death and get out of the back door of a burning building, magician style.

It was interesting to see Cameron again, playing with reverse psychology, telling House to give up like Wilson did. As it would be the last thing Cameron would say it was a suggestion that House couldn't possibly die, things would be the opposite of how they seemed. The funeral scene was touching, especially as the last thing House says before his fake death is that he can change, something he has fought against throughout the entire series. There is a bitterness that House is so selfish to end his own life, which is disproven when he survives. It was also odd, again surreal. It somehow showed that this scenario was a mask for what was really happening. The text Wilson receives from House was truly Housian: 'shut up you idiot'. Basically code for 'I love you'.

I really liked the scene where Foreman finds House's name tag and understands what he had seen: the crashing down of burning planks crushing House, when Wilson and himself stood before the building was an illusion created by perspective. Regardless of all their arguments, they were friends, and it's great to see him happy for House.

Seeing Wilson ride off into the distance with House was a bittersweet moment. House has always been weary of happiness, how short lived it can be, but this is a reminder of how much Wilson has represented happiness for House throughout their friendship. We also see that life goes on, Taub works things out with his daughters' mothers, Chase becomes the head of diagnostics, the wheel keeps turning. What a fantastic and complex ending to the show.

The Warren Zevon song is so incredibly fitting: 'Keep Me In Your Heart (For A While)', and there is no doubt that we will. Thank you to David Shore for creating such a profound and complex character, an antihero unlike any other. Thank you to all the writers, actors, directors and crew who have worked so hard on this global phenomenon of a show. Thank you to the fans, and now friends, who have made this experience even more special for me. Thank you to Hugh Laurie for being absolutely brilliant and for making me laugh, cry and most importantly, think.

Goodbye House MD.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

'Holding On' Episode Review

Holding On begins with Wilson waking up, rather than a dramatic POTW opening scene. Wilson's case is the dramatic focus of the episode and we see this constantly through House's refusal to take on another case. At the beginning of the episode Wilson tells House that he will not have any more chemotherapy, because five months living is better than a year in excruciating pain at the hospital.

This week's patient, a nineteen year old cheerleader, is admitted with a massive nosebleed and dizziness. Initially he will represent a parallel to Wilson. House refuses to take his case, telling the team that 'my best friend is trying to kill himself'. House counters Adams' thoughts about dying with dignity with 'there's no such thing', a shout out to the pilot episode, in which he says the same thing to Rebecca Adler (purposeful Holmes re-reference?), the school teacher. The POTW in this episode is shown to hear voices because of activity in the audio section of his brain. Bear with me when I say that the patient appears to simultaneously parallel both House and Wilson. These audio 'hallucinations' led me to think of how House would feel if Wilson died, which was compounded by the fact that the patient tries to kill himself because he will no longer hear his brother inside his head after surgery. Although the connection was fabricated, it was still incredibly meaningful. With the connection broken forever he no longer wants to live. Throughout the episode House begs Wilson to accept treatment because he needs him. House is fully aware and open to admit his dependence on Wilson. Similarly, Wilson needs House to accept that he's dying and to be there for him until the end. Therefore, when the patient tries to kill himself, this reminds House of Wilson and he explodes in a rage of uncontrollable emotion and begins to strangle the patient to force him to fight for his life, to want to survive. On the other hand, the fact that the patient does survive may represent the fact that despite an excruciating struggle, House could survive (although I'm still not convinced he could) without the presence of the voice of conscience that makes his life worth living. He tells Wilson at the end that he's the only one he listens to. In a moving scene at the end we also see the patient's mother accept to talk about the death of his brother, to face reality, just as House must do with Wilson.

In a Known Unknowns fashion House drugs Wilson for what he believes is his own good. Wilson's expression is priceless just before he's knocked out and House hooks him up to what appears to be chemo but turns out to be a sedative. He wanted to show Wilson what it would be like to be dead, no dreams no thoughts, nothing forever more...without the waking up part. Of course, House being House, it's not a completely selfless act because he wants Wilson to be there for him five months on, rather than dead. It was the cafeteria scene that really reinforced the fact that Wilson is dying. The point is not whether the patients were fake or not, but the fact that House went to the trouble to show Wilson just how much he matters, how many lives he's saved. I felt utterly choked by that moment, tears and all. 

Thirteen makes an appearance and convinces House that the most important thing is to be loyal to Wilson, just as he supported her by forcing her to live life as she wanted to. Just before she walks in House is watching a cancer patient enduring chemotherapy, which demonstrates a further awareness of how much his friend would suffer. Before she meets House, Thirteen tells Wilson that he should start the chemo, two weeks on two weeks off and then reassess, but Wilson is sure he wants to just live his life, with his friend, so Thirteen passes the message onto House.

House pretends to admit defeat and organises a nostalgic dinner to celebrate their friendship, toasting 'to climbing the hill'. Wilson realises his ulterior motive and breaks down. House's outburst about the chronic pain he feels and the fact that he's considered ending it many times emphasises just how much Wilson means to him, because he never gave up. House plays a beautiful melancholic piece on the piano which preempts his acceptance of Wilson's decision to live his life without chemo.

A clever man once said that in an excellent plot the end is implicit in the beginning, in cyclical form. Yet the thread only becomes apparent when you reach the end. At the beginning Foreman gives House tickets for a game which is 'one month after Wilson's expiration date', to show him that others care for him besides Wilson. At the absolutely ground shattering end, the mischief House causes with the tickets results in a catastrophic destruction of hospital property. Just as House had begun to accept Wilson's fate he is confronted with his own. This criminal destruction of property is a violation of parole and he faces six month in prison, as many months as Wilson is likely to survive... I can honestly say that I did not see that coming. What an absolutely fantastic and moving episode.

Incredibly excited, sad, curious, nervous, emotions ad infinitum to see Everybody Dies. The end is nigh, and it's a hard pill to swallow.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

'Post Mortem' Episode Review

At the beginning of the episode, attached to the very open demonstration of death and loss, was a mixed feeling of horror and realism. Death staring at you in the face. Dr. Treiber begins the autopsy of a woman whose time of death has just been called. We explicitly see her heart being excised from her chest. The image of her heart being ripped out of her body makes me think of how House feels about Wilson dying of cancer. Dr. Treiber slices open his face during what seems to be a psychotic break, which House dismissively diagnoses as 'walking corpse syndrome'; another dark parallel to Wilson's current situation. Treiber won't trust anyone but House to take his case as he is obsessed with medical conduct and malpractice. Treiber is absolutely meticulous in his work, to the point where the final diagnosis comes in part from the soap with which he obsessively washes his hands. The soap, combined with the energy drink he consumes to stay sharp, causes hypothyroidism.

Wilson decides he will be 'indifferent', a term he uses throughout the episode to prove that he is letting go of any concerns, any feelings towards other people, in order to live a selfish and careless life. His overuse of the word indicates just how impossible it is for him to stop caring. Wilson buys, or more likely hires, a convertible red corvette to go on a road trip. He forces House to join him. Usually House would be raring to go, but from the moment Wilson adopts this 'new' attitude House's concern for him grows. Wilson says he wants to go and see Julie Christie, who he's had a crush on since he was young. He later admits that this is just an excuse to stay away from the hospital, as he's supposed to have an MRI of his thymoma in three days. Everything at the hospital reminds him of how real his cancer is, so he creates a false persona, Kyle, as a form of escapism. This was the guy who got the girl in high school. So, 'Kyle' eats the biggest steak anyone has ever seen, has a threesome, drives his car recklessly until it crashes. From the moment the car crashes everything becomes real again, the anger and frustration have been expelled (see 'Moving On'). On a side note, I thought it was interesting that House was knocked unconscious by the car crash. This might later be relevant.

Wilson can no longer show indifference and instead of abandoning an old lady with Alzheimer to get a taxi back, he stays, because that's who he is, and as the House axiom suggests, people don't change. Just as the lady would remember nothing and Wilson's kindness would have no lasting impact on her life, his friendship, and his acts of persistence and kindness have also rescued House many times, and in his case are life changing. Wilson doesn't abandon the lady just as he could never really abandon House. House pretends to be angry about missing the taxi, but on the bus he talks about how Kyle would probably have abandoned him (but Wilson hasn't). Throughout this Thelma and Louise-like adventure House looks at Wilson with expressions of deep fear and apprehension. Wilson is, in part, acting like House, and the reflection is disconcerting. Wilson goes overboard when he overtakes a very serious, solemn funeral procession to feel free, to let go of everything and just live for the moment.

Throughout the episode the team are looking for the cause of Dr. Treiber's condition, and Chase believes that the answer most likely lies with the corpses in the morgue. This would suggest that the dead not only emotionally but physically affect the living. Dying changes everything. This of course makes me think of House and Wilson. However, just as the corpses are not responsible for Dr. Treiber's symptoms perhaps what is happening to Wilson won't develop quite how we might believe. The House writers have this fantastic ability to create scenarios that we could never see coming, or at least not their full impact or extent. Chase heads up the diagnostic team and proceeds with treating Treiber as though he were representing House's orders. Treiber makes him consider his life as a doctor and how, by now, he should have progressed to running his own diagnostics team. The Chase arc in season 8 has been fantastic in my opinion, his relationship with House after the stabbing and in 'Blowing the Whistle' show the extent of how much Chase has grown and learnt. At the end when Chase is saying goodbye to House it was hard not to feel a pang in the chest, to see him thanking House, and seeing House recognise how much the experiences they've had have meant, with a Housian quip, a look and a handshake. It was even more poignant considering this is nearly goodbye for us as well.

By the end of the episode I thought I might go into tachycardia. The tension was overwhelming as I watched House cut his sentence short and stare at the monitor and then at Wilson. His solemn face of shock virtually unreadable. Has the tumour grown despite the drastic measures? Has it shrunk to virtual insignificance? Are there more tumours? It's hard to say. As I've said previously I don't think House can live without Wilson. For me, one of the most poignant moments of the episode was on the bus, when House says he could live without Kyle, implying he couldn't live without Wilson.

The writing and acting in this episode were phenomenal. The expressions House gives Wilson have ingrained themselves in my memory. The attempt to have fun and be carefree is tinged with the bitterness of a reality that awaits them, and us. Only two episodes left...

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

'The C Word' Episode Review

The patient this week is a six year old girl Emily who has a rare genetic disease (AT). As she is a double carrier of the gene marker it means she doesn't present with the usual symptoms. Emily convinces her dad to let her ride the carousel at the park. After spells of dizziness she begins to have a nosebleed and collapses. Emily's parents are separated, and following the Season 8 theme of  'parents', hers argue constantly about her health and well being. In simplistic terms, it could be argued that the father represents the 'heart', taking an interest in his daughter's emotions, while the mother is the 'head', taking interest in her daughter's medical condition. The constant back and forth demonstrates the necessary interplay of the two. Her mother is a doctor who specialises in Emily's genetic condition. She joins the team. Although she tries to distance herself by referring to Emily as 'the patient' we see the impossibility of objectivity in the case. This parallels Wilson's cancer treatment. He refuses to follow medical advice and believes that he can be his own doctor. House highlights the insanity of his plan to endure a double treatment of chemotherapy and radiation because of the extreme side effects and a much higher risk that it might kill him. Wilson can't be objective despite being an oncologist. In a moving scene he picks up mementos of patients with high survival rates who passed away.

The mother takes matters into her own hands and treats Emily with a drug that is not FDA approved in her own home, which is a mirror to House accepting to treat Wilson at his apartment. It demonstrates the inevitability of loving someone so much that your heart overrides your head. In both cases these drastic treatments momentarily appear life saving (the Lex-2 was keeping Emily's lime disease at bay and Wilson appears stronger at the end), but Emily still has AT and Wilson still has cancer.

The team works with the help of Emily's mom Elizabeth, but we see a striking moment of House's empty chair. Chase takes over the diagnostics and ends up solving the case by finding a benign tumour in Emily's heart. The ducklings have proven that they can handle even an incredibly intricate case on their own. Strikes a chord about the end...

The scenes in House's apartment were incredibly moving. To see House give Wilson his Vicodin was heartbreaking in the best possible way; putting Wilson first, suffering alongside him and doing everything he can, truly demonstrated the depth of their friendship. In his Housian way he even tries to dissuade Wilson from taking the drastic route by bluntly stating all the agonising pain he will suffer. When Wilson begins to talk about dying and the implications this will mean for House legally (as Wilson is taking  lethal chemicals in his apartment) House replies that 'that's not going to be an issue'. Now, in my opinion, there are several ways of interpreting this. House jokes about dumping the body, but I think either he refuses to believe Wilson will die, or, and it gets darker here, if Wilson dies he would kill himself (as his life would no longer be worth living)... Back to the humour, in the wonderful Housian fashion, House manages to joke about how if Wilson's confessing his gay love for him, everybody already knows.

Wilson always imagined he would have wife and kids to support him during his old age or infirmity. Again, House comes out with 'you have everything you need right here. We both do.' Touching moment followed by 'industrial strength pain killer' just shows brilliance in writing. Wilson hallucinates about his eight year old patient who dies of cancer, who he told that things would get better and he would be ok. Wilson's fears are infiltrating his unconscious and manifesting themselves as hallucinations because of the drugs. He feels helpless, like a child. At the peak of his suffering he implicitly tells House that he should be the one with cancer, that if he (Wilson) had been an ass all his life who made people suffer and pushed them away, then he would deserve cancer. Another part of  the human condition, the fear of death. Wilson takes out his anger on House because of the apparent absurdity of it all; including the dark irony (as I mentioned after last week's episode) of an oncologist getting cancer. He suffers an existential crisis about the meaning of life and why the universe would do this to him, and realises the hypocrisy of telling his patients not to think about why. Wilson is dying, his white blood cell count is dangerously low but he makes House promise he won't take him to the hospital. In what he believes could be his dying moment, all he wants is to be there and have House by his side. As the sun rises bright in the sky the next morning it tells us that Wilson has lived through the night, and that House has sacrificed a lot for his best friend. But he'd rather 'tone down the bromance' so we'll leave it at that.

I loved the ending because it was so wonderfully inappropriate and funny. I laughed and almost cried simultaneously. Housian dark humour at its best. House takes pictures of Wilson unconscious, hooked up to the drugs with lots of bikini clad girls and alcohol. Absolutely fantastic episode! It was so well written and I really enjoyed Hugh's direction, especially the close ups and the moments when House and Wilson are looking beyond the camera addressing one another. I have to say the music was great in this episode, really complemented the mood and narrative.

Speculation- This is just a scenario that played in my head, that I thought I'd share. It will sound farfetched and maybe 'denial-y' but once an idea blossoms it sticks no matter how improbable or impossible it sounds. Not saying this is what will happen. Emily talks about how her parents only fight about her, and that maybe when she dies, they will get back together. I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that it won't be Wilson who dies, it will be House. In my mind, daddy is Wilson and mommy is Cuddy (not in the romantic sense). I think that if there is any chance she is coming back, it would be in the sense that it's 'too late'. Again, I'm not saying this is what will happen and it's based on absolutely NO fact (I'm spoiler free). It's just a scenario. That is all.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

'Body and Soul' Episode Review

A young boy suffers from respiratory trouble after dreaming about a spirit who walks into his room and strangles him. House believes it is Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome which kills males who are of Hmong heritage. It is soon noted that medicine is failing him as none of the treatments work. The grandfather believes that, similarly to his son who murdered his boss with a sledgehammer, his grandson is possessed. When science appears to provide no answer and thus no cure, the boy's mother gives up her reluctance to believe in alternative spiritual treatments. House is extremely distressed that religion could provide a cure science (he) was unable to give. The boy dreams that his grandfather is the one strangling him and when he awakes we see he has red imprints around his neck. We see the effects but not the cause.

The theme of dreams runs throughout the episode and provides scenarios in which Park fantasises about Chase and he fantasises about her, both claiming that dreams don't mean anything. Taub convinces Park that it means trust, security and friendship and so she tries to prove her theory by farting in the elevator. I love Chase's reactions to the things she says. Again we see the effects (sex dreams) but not necessarily the true cause (reason behind) the dream. It leads us perhaps to understand that not everything can be explained and that the 'obvious' explanation doesn't necessarily prove to be the correct one.

We see a further development in House's relationship with Dominika as he feels the bond between them is perhaps stronger than he had previously believed. She likes guns, she reads physics books about one of his favourite subjects, dark matter, and shows true interest and understanding. Notably, Dominika compares the understanding of dark matter, of which we can see only the effect and not the cause to spiritualism and occultism. In a true Housian way, as soon as happiness begins to materialise the ceiling drops. They are about to have sex when Dominika takes a call telling her that her citizenship was approved and that they had sent notifications by post several times. Whether Dominika leaves through feeling betrayed and angry or whether she leaves because that is what she would have done anyway, we never know. House is obviously affected by this and the expression on his face shows that he truly doesn't want her to leave. Once again House sabotages (unconsciously most likely) his relationship with the woman he cares about. He knew that she would find out eventually and that what he had done would upset her. He pushed her away because he's so terrified of happiness. That's not to say he doesn't want to be happy, and he doesn't want to be with her, he just doesn't expect it to last. Cue: Cuddy. The green card thus seems to represent the Vicodin he took when Cuddy was thought to have cancer. It's self preservation, a coping mechanism which is extraordinarily ironic. He precipitates pain only to feel the brute force of its impact.

Following the 'multiple possibilities' theme of the episode, we can't say whether it was the Ibuprofen or the grandfather's exorcism which heals Luke's heart. Adams says it's hard to believe that aspirin could heal him, the mother then says that it's hard for Adams to believe that the spiritual intervention worked. As Taub says 'there were two things we thought were impossible, one of them wasn't, that's all we know.' One of things that I have always loved about House is that when it comes to debates of this genre they never tell us what to think, they present the facts and let us decide. We fill in the blanks in our own ways, according to what makes sense for us.

So we see the beginning of the end. "I have cancer House". Wilson's expression and then House's disbelief. All this time I've been focusing on House being the one who could be ill, who fears that he will become incapable of practising medicine, losing his mind. When in fact he could lose a large part of his heart. Wilson. House has lost a lot of people throughout the years, but I honestly think Wilson's death could kill him. I'm a fan of dark and dramatic as I think its an essential part of Housian nature but it really does hit you hard when you imagine a possible scenario where Wilson is gone and House is alone. It was an incredible scene. I know this arc will be spectacular, one step closer to the end.

Monday, 23 April 2012

House Finale Posters

Official House MD Poster:

The talented @ncismelanie_'s tribute:

Friday, 20 April 2012

'We Need The Eggs' Episode Review

At the beginning of We Need The Eggs we see what appears to be a couple at a fairground. The girl, Molly, tells the soon to be POTW (who soon after begins to cry blood) to shoot around the star. To me, in hindsight, this was a metaphor for romantic relationships in the episode. Shooting around the star meaning settling for relationships that remind them of the winning prize, the person they really want to be with. Also, instead of dating a woman clearly interested in him, he has a customised doll called Amy as his girlfriend. He explains that dating is far too difficult and that he has had enough of suffering after the team finds out that his doll was modelled on a woman he used to date, who was extremely different from him (who practised yoga) and broke his heart. In fact, it is a gift from that girlfriend that makes him sick, an Indian device which looks like a teapot to flush out the nostrils during allergy season.The House/POTW plotlines are extremely intertwined in this episode. In my opinion this relates to House's relationship with Cuddy. He lost the woman who changed his life, and ended up in jail.

So in the meantime we see House is interviewing hookers because his favourite tells him she can't see him anymore. He asks one of the hookers what her favourite Woody Allen movie is. She says Annie Hall, but not because she 'needed the eggs'. I wrote about the title a few weeks ago because it really interested me, so if you want to check that out: Episode 17

So the episode is based on relationships, and as House says, what everyone does to avoid them; calling the excuses they make their own personal 'sex dolls'...from Adams volunteering during any free time she has to Chase dating patients for convenience. So in terms of subplot we have Taub's fleeting relationship with a woman he meets in a supermarket who he initially tells that his child's mother died at childbirth. When he opens himself up to her she rejects him, though with the funniest expression: 'Was that a different baby?' Adams also opens herself up to Chase and gets rejected. This shows why people are often so reluctant to open up to relationships. At least we see Park jamming in the end with guitar guy. I liked that scene. 

The irony of House telling other people that they are socially inept is of course that his 'sex doll' is a hooker, who he uses more for companionship than for sex. (Why would he care what else they can do otherwise?..Juggle, cards etc.) That appears to be the reason why he has one hooker who he is in a pseudo relationship with, because he wants to feel that something is real, even if it's not. This links to Chase talking to Adams about taking the doll into a procedure room rather than cutting her open in front of the patient: 'You can know something is not real and still love it'. House isn't in love with the hooker, he's in love with the idea that he is in control of the situation, that he doesn't have to worry about all the relationship-y parts, like arguing, exactly like the patient with his doll. So when the hooker tells him she is getting married, House loses control, and wants to gain it back by sabotaging the marriage. It's a nightmare scenario for him because it reminds him of his past, of Cuddy leaving him. Ironically, this time it's the hooker who has the 'fake marriage', which serves as a mirror for him and his actions, and the pain Cuddy must also have suffered. This nightmare scenario manifests itself for the patient in the form of a hallucination of his once-time girlfriend undressing for him (Cuddy: House's Head). She begins to bleed severely from her stomach and the scenes are dark and dramatic to emphasise the mental pain he suffers. Wilson even says, in a passive agressive, reverse psychology kind of way to House that the favourite hooker represents a long term relationship which can't hurt him. Although House tells the hooker she shouldn't leave him because the only real thing about his marriage is the green card, he throws the green card away. He appreciates the companionship. So in the end he continues to play pretend, as we see the patient doing (watching TV with Amy), because real relationships are more than complicated. There is perhaps a glimmer of hope for the patient when he looks down at the bear he got with Molly. Although more likely, the fear of that relationship is greater than the fear of missing out on something great.

So many fantastic quotes from this episode, the writing is so detailed. I loved House talking to Wilson in front of the elevator and the scenes before and just after Dominika seduced the hooker's brother. For me, it's always a great episode when the serious, emotional moments blend well with the humorous ones. One of my favourites this season.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Gut Check Episode Review

To relate the title to the episode, a gut check is when someone stops and assesses a situation, which happens in the main plot (House/Wilson/Kid), and the subplot (Taub/Patient), (Park/Chase).

The episode opens with a minor league hockey player who coughs up blood after a fight on the ice. The patient suffers from numerous symptoms including what appears to be an emotional breakdown, paralysis, and hormonal changes. This makes him question his role as 'enforcer' on the team, using his size to fight rather than to play hockey. He goes back on his change of heart when he is offered a new lucrative contract, saying that half the dream is better than nothing. This will parallel House's story with Wilson, where half the dream of having a child is lived (the other half representing its fakeness, how it ends, and House himself).

House interrupts Wilson's sleep (dreams), and tells him that the baby crying which keeps him awake has also triggered something, perhaps on an unconscious level, and that 'the fact that you're the only fruit on your family tree is getting to you'. Wilson is obviously at a point in his life where he is reflecting on missed opportunities. House exploits this to give him a warped version of what he wanted. So warped that the child is a mini Wilson ('a gutless placater just like his dad') rather than the 'best case scenario' (the realistic one) of the child being a nightmare. The nightmare is not what the child is like, it's what the child represents in Wilson's life...and for House. Wilson often comments on House's childish behaviour, his pranks and his needy attitude. House is the child. The nightmare behaviour for House is that a child would replace him, so in part it appears he introduces this fake child for selfish reasons. On the other hand, he wants to show Wilson that he is not missing anything; that the idyllic illusion of having a child is often best kept as it is, a fantasy ('every little girl wants a pony until they have to clean up after it'). The reality, or the fake reality in this case, soon turns sour when Wilson realises he has taken on far too much responsibility. I must admit that I saw through the charade, if it's what it really was, and I was simultaneously smirking to myself and angry at House for putting Wilson through this. My first suspicion was House's mention of a 'hypothetical' situation in the past, which I thought would lead to a parallel in the present. The child's uncanny behaviour and deep affection only made me more sure, as he acted as Wilson does, always attaching himself to 'impossible' relationships. However, what he did was for the best as Wilson keeps his desire as just that, and doesn't have to deal with a nightmare situation he can't control. The scene in the elevator was incredibly poignant; the seriousness of House's pain showed that he could (almost) feel the suffering that Wilson would go through. He goes as far as saying it could ruin his life and that his relationship with him could not even begin to compare to what having a child would be like. As I said last week, the parental theme is running strong in season 8, and this seems to me, a reflection on House's suffering as a child; what his father put him through, the misery he felt. It serves as a cautionary tale for Wilson.

Taub is averse to fighting in hockey as he believes it detracts from the sport, while House accuses him of small man syndrome and feeling bullied. Taub is made to doubt himself, to question his objectivity and treat the patient accordingly. House's talk about not trusting anything of superficial appearance (mirrors the situation with Wilson/kid) with Taub leads to the Housian light bulb moment, which leads to the correct diagnosis (Miller Fisher Syndrome). House even lies to him and says the patient defended him, to get him to see the situation from a different perspective. House also subjects himself to an MRI to prove that Taub sees brain damage where he wants to see it (as the patient has suffered severe head trauma in the past). This in turn made me wonder about House's brain. Recently there has been a focus on his brain capacity (Blowing The Whistle)...This struck me as a way for House to convince someone to check him out without alerting any suspicion!

Chase convinces Park to move in with him when her family is suffocating her. I laughed out loud when House was making eye contact with Chase after Park blurts out that they are not having sex....yet. While Park is chasing independence (pun intended), Chase misses a family connection and starts hanging out with Park's grandma Popo. This made me wonder whether we'll be seeing anymore of this storyline develop in the next few episodes (spoiler free speculation), especially as we see Park return to her family, appreciating what she has.

On reflection, the richness of the episode seemed to really sink in. For Hilson lovers, this was a fantastic episode, we see just how much they care for one another and how they appear to be so co-dependent; to an extent in a constantly inverting parent/child relationship.

Oh and the picture of boobs on the whiteboard which kept flashing in the background during the differential diagnosis was so House.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Blowing The Whistle Episode Review

Blowing The Whistle centres around the theme of honour. As House suggests, honour is subjective. We do what we believe is honourable for reasons which matter to us. The question that permeates the episode is: Why do we do what we do? This not only applies to the young soldier who leaks a video showing the shooting of thirty four civilians by American forces but also to House. The POTW justifies his act of treason because he believed it is what his father would have done, as during the war, his father disobeyed orders and saved fellow soldiers. This appears to be somewhat of a parallel to the episode Parents, in which the POTW wants to follow in his biological father's footsteps to become a clown, and then we later discover that his father sexually abused him and caused his illness. The theme of parental care is something that has always featured in House episodes because House believes parents screw their children up; including himself. House shows a certain disdain for men in uniform, joking that they get served first in the cafeteria, but this is perhaps more a reference to his dislike of his own father. In Blowing The Whistle the POTW's brother later reveals that the army did not covertly assassinate their father, but that he was a drunk and was killed in a car accident in which he killed a civilian, ironic. Just as in Parents, where the mother is keeping the abuse from her son to protect him, the brother is doing the same thing. House asks the young soldier how many civilians must die to make his act honourable. Is it a utilitarian matter? The question of what is more honourable - serving your country and fulfilling your duties or making public the deaths of civilians in order to attempt to stop further similar attacks from happening (blowing the whistle) - is subjective.

House on the other hand appears to be suffering from hepatic encephalopathy. Adams notices that his reaction time is slow and that he hasn't publicly humiliated her for sleeping with someone and then turning up to work in the same clothes. The team even follows him to the bathroom, after which Taub collects his, I should say feces, but I'll say poo. The Taubinator beats House aka Occam's Chainsaw at his video games, something House never loses. Meanwhile House is trying to uncover the rat among the team; who told Foreman he's sick. Except he's not sick. This does remind me of when House pretended he had cancer in Half Wit in order to get an implant in his brain that releases medication which would soothe his pain. That had an obvious, deceitful purpose whereas this appears to be darker because it's so ellusive. House caused all his own symptoms. Except we never really know why, at least not from his perspective. In the end House accuses Chase of being the rat to which Chase retorts that House wanted him to tell Foreman, someone to notice straight away that he's losing his edge (his brain function, which matters most to him), because eventually it will happen. Chase was against telling Foreman, so it's unlikely it was him. We never know who told. House neither confirms nor denies Chase's theory, but Chase is somewhat of a House protege, so his assumption does make sense at least on some level, even if on an unconscious one. In fact, Chase suggests Typhus as the diagnosis right at the beginning of the differential diagnosis, which House suggests at the end of episode, and is correct. Also, he makes Taub suggest diagnoses under the pressure of playing the video game, thus being distracted and having to be extremely on point. As we know, House does project.

Wilson, confronts House about being ill and House says he wouldn't believe him if he told Wilson he were, jokingly. So is House really ill? Is he afraid of losing his capacity to practice medicine? Old age seems to be weighing heavily on his mind, grey hair, is what leads him to the eventual diagnosis. Very subtle.

We also have the clinic patient who is, to our amusement, singing while hopping on one leg. Diagnosis: he drank too much green beer (and has an allergy to the dye). Now this may be a stretch, so humour me, but he is allergic to green beer, green being the millitary colour and alcohol being what the POTW's father died from. Sometimes the connections aren't evident but they are usually threaded in.

Obviously I can't talk about everything that happened, but overall, it was an interesting episode, a good build up to the end, to what will happen to House. Now I look forward to some drama and to the unexpected.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Episode 17

We Need The Eggs 

So unofficially we've heard via Twitter (and on IMDb) that episode 17 of Season 8 is called We Need The Eggs. I looked up the title because I was curious as to what it alluded to. It appears to be a quote from Woody Allen's Annie Hall (1977):

I thought of that old joke: This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'Doc, my brother's crazy, he thinks he's a chicken.' And the doctor says, 'Well why don't you turn him in?' and the guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.' Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships. They're totally irrational and crazy and absurd, but I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.

I was sure I'd heard that quote in part somewhere before on an episode of House. Well, it turns out I had:

During Season 2 I was a huge fan of the Stacy-House relationship, so let's say I've watched Failure to Communicate (Season 2 Episode 10) more than once. The episode is actually one of my favourites. There is a fantastic scene earlier in the episode in which Stacy uses 'curry' as an analogy to describe her relationship with House, which is why the sentence finishes with 'curry' instead of 'eggs':

The question is: Why this title? Is it a reference to House's relationship with Stacy or relationships in general? The latter is more likely in my opinion. Relationships are complicated (a notion personified by House), and this emphasises the fact that we can never really understand other people's relationships; we are outsiders. Relationships don't often 'make sense' and are often addictive as Stacy says. In hindsight it's interesting that House chimes in with 'drugs' when Stacy is thinking of something addictive. Medicine always gets in the way of House and his relationships (I don't only mean Cuddy here), as despite what he says, medicine does come first.

So We Need The Eggs could focus on romantic relationships but also on familial ones. We may well see a psych patient as the subplot, which would refer to the Annie Hall reference. Again, relationships are complicated. It could be the case that we get an insight into how someone diagnosed with a mental illness communicates with a sibling or parent and how difficult it can be for both sides. This is pure speculation.

Note: According to IMDb Peter Blake and Sarah Hess are the writers but nothing has been released OFFICIALLY as of yet. It may well turn out that this isn't the title of the episode at all. However, I thought I would share my thoughts about what I believe is an interesting concept; a potential self-reference (to Failure to Communicate) as well as an intertextual one to Annie Hall

Thursday, 15 March 2012

A Brief Open Letter

Dear House,

I feel I've been neglecting you, I haven't written in a while. Then again, you don't exist, so I'm not entirely sure you'll mind. Yet while you've been not existing, you fake, you character, you've somehow managed to ambush me and steal my heart, my head, and in return you've left a mixture of light and dark. 

Cracks of uncertainty, insecurity, appear shallower, less significant. Utterly inappropriate Houseisms draw a half smile, knowing, on a bad day. Yet, you're just a figment of the imagination, not mine, unfortunately. 

Somehow you've paved the paths of greatest resistance, unconventionally of course. The unlikeliest of friendships exist because of you, international barriers obliterated through the common language that is sarcasm with an 'H'. 

You intrude when least expected, invading songs on the radio, daydreams on long journeys, conversations not about you. You are impossibly flawed, you antihero. How dare you make it okay to be who we are? 

You relieve pain, mental anguish, you give hope, you create dreams, all the while being who you are, an ass. So this is your fault, all these reactions, all the tears, the laughs, the time spent thinking, talking. 

But then again, you don't exist, so I won't miss you at all. 

Everybody lies. 


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Goodbye House MD

by TV Guide Magazine on Wednesday, 8 February 2012 at 23:03 ·

By Michael Schneider

Fox is locking the doors on House. As had been expected for months, the network has decided that this will be the final season of House on Fox.

And although producer Universal TV maintain the rights to now shop the show elsewhere, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt has already said that he wouldn't seek to move it onto his network. Plus, star Hugh Laurie (whose deal expires at the end of this year) has also made it clear in past interviews that he's ready to move on – and perhaps focus on his burgeoning singing career.

Series executive producer David Shore has been asking Fox for months to set an end date for the show, in order to give the hit drama its proper farewell. House remains a solid performer for Fox, averaging a 3.5 rating and 9 share among adults 18-49 (placing it 32nd overall) and 9.1 million viewers. That's why some questioned whether the show would really end its run this year. Universal is said to have pitched hard to keep the show alive, but for now, at least, it appears to be the end of the run.

Beyond Laurie's desire to move on, there's also the fact of the matter that House is now in its eighth season, which means it has evolved into a pricy production – and a network's license fee at this point in the game is usually required to cover the cost of production plus a premium. The show's escalating costs led to a standoff last spring between Fox and Universal over a renewal; a deal was eventually struck, but budget cuts led to the departure of key castmember Lisa Edelstein, among other things.

After last spring's tough re-negotiation, Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said it was "pretty likely" that this was its final year. Reilly later told reporters that a concrete decision would be made by mid-fall—but decided to wait a bit longer to see how its new Monday night dramas performed. And although Alcatraz took a dip this week opposite the launch of NBC's The Voice, the J.J. Abrams drama has performed strong for Fox and is a shoo-in for renewal. Fox's new Kiefer Sutherland drama Touch, which debuts its regular run on Mondays next Month, also performed well in its Jan. 25 preview – giving Fox yet another reason to retire House.

"I think we have just been avoiding it, to be honest with you," Reilly said in January at the TV Critics Assn. press tour. "It's hard to imagine the network without House.  And, really, we are all going to sit down. This is not going to be like the pink slip goes out, and that's the end of House.  David and Hugh and the whole crew have been very busy.  They are doing great work… We are going to size everything up.  You know, it's no secret.  Last year, we said it was going to be a close call, and probably it’s the last year, but, honestly, we just simply haven't made the decision."

At the time, Reilly also called the House cast and crew "so professionally, consistently, creatively tenacious.  They are collaborative, responsible.  Hugh is not only a great actor but an incredible leader for his sort of organization.  So it's just really the dream scenario with that show, and that's why it makes it a very hard decision, and, honestly, one that I hope we can make together, and I think we will."

Last fall, a production insider told TV Guide Magazine, "if it's truly over, eight years has been a good run. We'll have finished up with (more than) 175 episodes."

Announcement from HOUSE Executive Producers David Shore, Katie Jacobs and Hugh Laurie

After much deliberation, the producers of House M.D. have decided that this season of the show, the 8th, should be the last.  By April this year they will have completed 177 episodes, which is about 175 more than anyone expected back in 2004.

The decision to end the show now, or ever, is a painful one, as it risks putting asunder hundreds of close friendships that have developed over the last eight years - but also because the show itself has been a source of great pride to everyone involved.

Since it began, House has aspired to offer a coherent and satisfying world in which everlasting human questions of ethics and emotion, logic and truth, could be examined, played out, and occasionally answered.  This sounds like fancy talk, but it really isn’t.  House has, in its time, intrigued audiences around the world in vast numbers, and has shown that there is a strong appetite for television drama that relies on more than prettiness or gun play.
But now that time is drawing to a close.  The producers have always imagined House as an enigmatic creature;  he should never be the last one to leave the party.  How much better to disappear before the music stops, while there is still some promise and mystique in the air.
The producers can never sufficiently express their gratitude to the hundreds of dedicated artists and technicians who have given so generously of their energy and talent to make House the show it has been - and perhaps will continue to be for some time, on one cable network or another.
The makers of House would also like to thank Fox Broadcasting and Universal Television for supporting the show with patience, imagination and large quantities of good taste.  The Studio-As-Evil-Adversary is one of the many clich├ęs that House has managed to avoid, and for that the cast and crew are deeply grateful.
Lastly, the audience:  some have come and some have gone, obviously.  This is to be expected in the life of any show.  But over the course of the last eight years, the producers of House have felt immensely honored to be the subject of such close attention by an intelligent, discriminating, humane and thoughtful - not to mention numerous - audience.  Even the show's detractors have been flattering in their way.  Making the show has felt like a lively and passionate discussion about as many different subjects as could possibly be raised in 177 hours.  The devotion and generosity of our viewers has been marvelous to behold.
So, finally, everyone at House will bid farewell to the audience and to each other with more than a few tears, but also with a deep feeling of gratitude for the grand adventure they have been privileged to enjoy for the last eight years.  If the show lives on somewhere, with somebody, as a fond memory, then that is a precious feat, of which we will always be proud.
Everybody Lies.

While it’s with much regret, and a lump in our throats, we respect the decision Hugh, David and Katie have made.  A true original, on the page and amazingly brought to life by Hugh Laurie, there is only one Dr. House.  For eight seasons, the entire HOUSE team has given us – and fans around the world – some of the most compelling characters and affecting stories ever seen on television.  They have been creatively tenacious and collaborative throughout this incredible run, and they are amongst the most superior talents in the business.  For all the above, we wholeheartedly thank them, and the fans who have supported the show.

Hugh Laurie

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

'Nobody's Fault' Episode Review

The hand writing on the wall

There has been serious buzz around this episode for at least the past two weeks. Now I know why. The episode exudes Housian understanding and adopts a non-formulaic style appropriate for such a huge character centric plot. The episode opens with dramatic still shots of blood, syringes, fallen flowers and balloons, giving us an eerie indication that something has gone terribly wrong. The episode takes the format of a trial, and in Kafkaesque form, we are in the dark about what happened and the reason for the questioning. House is at risk of having his parole revoked and being sent back to jail. Dr. Cofield is in charge of House's fate and questions House's methods of differential diagnosis, asking the team members whether his games are the cause of the dramatic event with severe consequences. Notably Chase is missing during this process. The story moves fluidly from past to present from person to person. 

Dr. Cofield says that "I know you'd like to make it about me, because then it wouldn't be about you." House is usually very extrovert and likes to be the centre of attention, but not when it comes to his emotions. He will do anything to escape having to deal with how he feels, especially when it concerns others.

The initial POTW is a chemistry teacher who collapses during a run. Very relevantly, he is admitted because of paralysis. As usual House diagnoses with treatment and is aware that the patient could have a psychotic break. However, Chase agrees with Adams and believes that a biopsy of the patient's rash is necessary as it is the cause of his condition. His decision is a key point of the episode. Did he defy House to win a game, because that is the frame of mind they have become so accustomed to? The POTW's paranoia is triggered by Adams's syringe and
he attacks Chase with a scalpal, slicing an artery in his heart and almost killing him in an extremely tense and dramatic scene. Chase survives but discovers that he is paralysed and may never walk again.

Lightheartedly House paints himself in an angelic position of innocence, in a scene of heavenly light because "good things usually happen, bad things sometimes happen" and it is nobody's fault. However, House doesn't really believe that no one is to blame. He doesn't blame his team and they don't blame him (although more than once they say "He's not wrong" instead of he's right, implying great results rather than method). House blames himself. He tries to pretend he doesn't care but Chase explains to Dr. Cofield that asking about the other patient while Chase is on the brink of death and then paralysis is his way of checking on him without admitting to it. It's an extremely poignant moment at the end of the episode when House says "I'm sorry". I believe he's sorry about what happened to him but I think he genuinely feels guilty that what happened was his fault. Importantly, the games they play lead to the epiphany House has about the diagnosis of the patient, "two explosions". The chemistry explosion that caused the paralysis led to a second explosion of tumorous cells. Chase was the one who rigged the Vicodin bottle. This reflects the fact that unusual and unorthodox methods lead House to the correct diagnosis.

It is interesting to note that the episode really begins with House looking in the mirror, reflecting about his role in this "fiasco". The episode is shot in very dark lighting to emphasize the dark and dramatic plot in an atomosphere which is further created by heavy rain (sadness, tears). At the end the rain stops and the trial room is flooded with light and is empty, premptive of the notion that House is not sentenced and so in essence it was nobody's fault. However, the team (minus Chase) is there to support House. The patient's wife heavily influences the verdict when she says that House was right about her husband. House calls Dr. Cofield a coward, because he let his heart be softened by a happy ending. There is no happy ending. Chase is left in an agony that House can understand. In a role reversal House apologises while Chase tells him he's busy, angry but not letting House believe it was all his fault. They have a deep friendship and House knows how much Chase looks up to him. House looks incredibly disappointed that he has hurt Chase, and that Chase now suffers (leg pain, as House does) in such a debilitating way.

It is extremely hard to choose specific aspects of the episode to focus on because the entire episode was a masterpiece. These are just some of the scenes that really stood out for me. The emotion, the drama, the language, the slight threading of humour into darkness which is incredibly difficult. Extremely well written, directed and executed by the actors, especially Jesse Spencer as Chase who really showed both physical and emotional pain. "None of this is fun House". Best of the season so far in my opinion.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

'Runaways' Episode Review

My initial reaction to this episode was that there was something left to be desired. But and it's quite a big but,....there are some very interesting aspects that caught my eye throughout the episode. First of all, the title. Why the plural? The POTW is the main plot runaway, in the more literal sense. In subsequent sub plots there is Foreman, who runs away from his affair, Taub, who initially runs away from bonding with his daughters, and House, who goes as far from the hospital as he can, because he can (ankle monitor free).

The POTW is a young homeless runaway who comes into the clinic in order to con an unsuspecting doctor for drugs. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, she gets House. She starts bleeding from her ear and House admits her into hospital. Adams wants to call social services but House understands the girl's reluctance to contact her abusive mother and go into the system, and so he stands up for her. Her mother, or biological mother as House calls her, is a drug addict who emotionally abused her daughter as a child by taking drugs in front of her and making her the caretaker of the family. House needs the mother's permission to operate on the patient and bluntly tells her that she is nothing but the egg donor, and that the daughter is much better off without her. House even tests her by leaving his bottle of Vicodin next to her, but she resists temptation to try and become a better mother. There appears to be resonances of a personal anger here, relating to House's tenuous relationship with his father, who he admits (in One Day, One Room) abused him. Reversely, in House's case, John is not his biological father but served the purposes of one, and House wishes he had not. House likely sees himself in the girl, she has the opportunity to live free from the abusive parental treatment that he lived through. However, poignantly, without the mother's presence, the eventual diagnosis of intestinal worms would not have been possible.

House follows Foreman around, making use of his new found freedom for the usual purposes of blackmail and extortion. He threatens Foreman with photos he took of him with a married woman he is having an affair with. This leads the wife to tell her husband the truth. She believes it will make Foreman feel less guilty but it leads Foreman to push her away. Without the exhiliration of doing something secretive and adventurous that he shouldn't, Foreman loses interest. House jokes that the only thing missing from a snapshot of Foreman's life is a cane. The more Foreman runs away from becoming House, the more he becomes him.

Taub is feeling a lack of connection with his daughters. This biological dad lightly parallels to the POTW's mother who neglected her daughter as a child. He tends to read magazines rather than try to have a relationship with them. Eventually Wilson advises him to find common ground and we see them beginning to bond, through baby style sport talk.

There were also some wonderfully Housian scenes in terms of humour. Chase talking to the babies about how men love commitment free sex in baby talk was fantastic. Also, House feeling the need to go clay pigeon shooting (mostly to con Adams) and bet on turtle races just because he can were true to his nature. The episode isn't one of my favourites, as I still feel there was something missing in terms of that underlying oomph we find in episodes that really make us connect. However the look into House's nature, his connection to the POTW and the possible glimpse into his past intrigued me.

PS. Odd clinic patients. 

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Better Half Episode Review

We finally see the end of the hiatus with the airing of Better Half, episode 9 of Season 8. This week's POTW suffers from severe early onset Alzheimer's disease and struggles from moment to moment to understand what's happening and where he is. He begins to cough up blood while awaiting to be OKd for an Alzheimer's drug trial. Enter Dr. House and his fortune telling index cards. I was glad to see his mischivous ways in action, always manipulating Foreman to get his way. In order to get his ankle monitor removed House plots to make Foreman feel superior and in control.

The wife of the POTW has stayed with him for ten years, giving up her job to look after him round the clock. Weariness sets in and she begins to break. As Chase says, it's not only the sick who needs looking after. However, she begins to plan her future with another man and it's implied she sleeps with him when she takes a night off from her husband's bedside. She is racked with guilt when her husband then disappears to be found at the soccer training ground where he used to coach a team of youngsters. The interesting notion here is whether he ran away because of habitual routine many years ago or whether he wanted to run away because he believed his illness was a burden to his wife and he no longer wanted her to suffer. This parallels Chase, whose mother drank herself to death, but not before Chase had to look after her and his baby sister for years as a teenager. Chase would rather her have killed herself with a gun and ended the misery they were all living through. A hard pill to swallow. Chase can't forget and the patient can't remember.

The POTW suffers from a moment of paranoid aggression and punches his wife in the face. We see just how hard the disease is on family life. The patient begins to regress and loses his ability to speak English and starts speaking his native Portuguese, leading to a very touching scene in which House translates for his wife. He speaks of how they met and how he knew she was the one. He would always say "There she is" when he saw her. The poignant blow comes at the end when the patient doesn't recognise his wife and we see just how heartbreaking the disease can be. The symptoms from the other mysterious disease merge with his Alzheimer's, making it hard to diagnose. In the end the patient suffers from Reye's syndrome which swells the brain and liver. Usually it's only found in kids but is aggravated by asprin which the patient takes continously (because he forgets he's already taken one) because of a sore throat. Foreman is the one to solve the case because of a vase of flowers which have not wilted in his office, linking to the patient's wife being a former botanist and keeping asprin in the house. It made me think whether House let Foreman present the correct diagnosis as he had done earlier in the episode or whether Foreman really did diagnose it himself. After all the "nurses hate" Foreman, so who put flowers in his office? My guess is House. Also, the flowers not wilting is perhaps a metaphor that all is not lost for the patient, who begins to recognise his wife again when he starts getting treatment. It could also represent the notion that people pretend they are ok. Instead of wilting when it seems they should, something keeps them going and they fight instead of giving up.

The clinic presented an asexual woman who would definitely not have featured in "Fugliness Weekly". Wilson is perplexed by an attractive, healthy woman who appears to have no sex drive. He tells House, which of course means a bet is on. House suggests that Wilson would only have told him about her if he didn't believe the patient himself. $100 dollars and House can't examine or talk to the patient. Rules were meant to be bent so House examines the husband instead who says he is also asexual. It turns out the husband has a tumour in his brain which decreases his libido and that the wife was lying in order to make the marriage work. This parallels the wife of the Alzheimer's patient keeping up appearences to keep her marriage from crumbling.

House uses his $100 bill to light cigars with Wilson. Throughout the episode we see friends who, despite the outward appearance of seeming so different (the contrasting view of the patients), fundamentally share a deep understanding. The light hearted scene at the end when they put their feet up and share a smoke appears to mean things are good between them.

The contrast between the humour throughout the episode (House/Wilson, House/Park/Adams) and the Alzheimer's patient and Chase works wonderfully. It's interesting that we don't know whether the wife stays with her husband or not as it makes us project our own ending and think about what we ourselves would do. Great episode to kick off the second half of season 8.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

FANVID: "Story of my life" (Character Study)

BY: @AleTheHOUSEwife

FANVID: "Can't wait to be King"

Going through hiatus induced withdrawal? WATCH THIS: Because House rules! 

BY: @ncismelanie_